Wednesday 29 June 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #7 - Nad Navillus

Chicago born Dan Sullivan's solo project Nad Navillus (Dan's name mirrored) released a self produced and self-titled instrumental CDr in 1999, a largely acoustic album, 'Show Your Face', in 2001 and and another with a full band, 'Iron Night', in 2002. Other than a couple of compilation tracks and a brief resurrection of the moniker for a split 7" single in 2014 (itself actually recorded ten years earlier), that's unfortunately the extent of the catalogue.

Sullivan spent some time playing with Songs:Ohia in the early noughties and at times his voice bares an uncanny similarity to that of his late friend Jason Molina. 'Your Good Side' from 'Show Your Face' was my introduction to the music of Nad Navillus, when I stumbled upon the song online, nearly 20 years ago. 

Nad Navillus - Your Good Side

Monday 27 June 2022

Monday Long Song

Edinburgh Waverley Station, 8.45am June 17th 

The journey back from Blog-Con '22 in Edinburgh the Friday before last began comfortably enough, with temperatures hovering around the 16/17° mark as I made my way to Waverley station for the 9am southbound train. It was difficult in those moments to believe the forecast I was reading on my phone predicting highs of over 30° nearer home. Fortunately though, I did heed the warnings and packed everything possible into my case, wearing only the lightest clothes available for the trip. The first leg was relatively uneventful, save for a rowdy group necking early morning tinnies en route to York races, the views from the train across Berwick and Durham were spectacular and the air conditioning kept things manageable. By the time we rolled into Peterborough though, the aircon was starting to struggle and as I stepped from the train I discovered why - it was beginning to get very warm indeed. My expected 45 minute wait for the connection eventually extended to nearly an hour and when the Norwich bound train finally rolled in I was concerned to see that it consisted of just two carriages, which were already virtually full. The platform was pretty chock-a-block too, so you can probably imagine the chaos that ensued as we tried to board. Long story short by the time I got on it was standing room only - and when I say standing room I mean bodies squashed together standing room, for two hours, in increasingly stifling temperatures. My phone flicked between telling me that it was 32/33° outside, but who knows what it must've been on board. Oh and did I mention that the train was not blessed with aircon, nor windows that opened? 

By the time I disembarked, fell to my knees and kissed the platform at Norwich, I and everyone else in that hellhole of a train were completely soaked through with sweat and gasping for breath. I had a 15 minute uphill walk followed by a 45 minute wait for a bus, both of which were uncomfortable in the conditions, but by then I didn't care. I was just pleased to be outside, free from the combined body odours of a couple of hundred clammy sardines in a can. Our mutual chum C started her own journey south a couple of hours after me and had to travel across London on her way home. I can't begin to imagine what that must've been like. In retrospect we were incredibly lucky with our timing for the glorious bloggers meet-up though, as had it been a week later our plans may well have been scuppered altogether in light of  the RMT industrial action.

Anyway, all that whinging was just an excuse for me to dig out this beauty from the great Junior Murvin, produced by the legendary Lee' Scratch' Perry and featuring a toast from another prominent reggae name, Dillinger, who turned 68 years of age just a couple of days ago.

Junior Murvin - Roots Train

Friday 24 June 2022

Friday Photo #24

A couple of phone shots from my Edinburgh wanderings (click on either to enlarge)

Last week's Edinburgh blogging meet-up was an overwhelming experience for someone whose life these days usually revolves around either working, walking or sitting in a room listening to records. The whole trip has already attained a mystical status in my mind and I've thought of little else since arriving home. Half a dozen bloggers of this parish and a couple of their respective partners, the very finest of company one and all, some coming face to face in the real world for the very first time, others renewing old friendships. It really was was an absolute joy from start to finish. Then there's Edinburgh itself - what a magical place. I'd only visited the city once before, very briefly, about 15 years ago and had always wanted to return, though even with this longer stay I feel I've barely scratched the surface.

The Fall - Edinburgh Man

Monday 20 June 2022

Monday Long Song

Last week was long, busy and, well, pretty darned glorious actually. Deets, as the kids say, to follow, but right now my brain is still mush from an endless, airless train journey on the hottest day of the year thus far, so let's ease into a new week with George Faith's sublime 1977 interpretation of William Bell's 'I Forgot to be Your Lover', here retitled simply, 'To Be a Lover'. The tune, released in the UK on Island's Black Swan imprint, was produced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry who makes an unexpected vocal appearance in the final 30 seconds of the mix. 'To Be a Lover' was a popular choice of cover in reggae circles during the 1970s, not least with Scratch himself who also produced versions of the song by Chenley Duffas in 1971 and George Earl in 1974. This one's the definitive reading though.

George Faith - To Be a Lover

Friday 10 June 2022

Friday Photo #23

Every now and then, when the whim takes me, I reach into the cupboard and retrieve an album, box or carrier bag full of old family photos to rifle through and usually manage to uncover a snapshot or two that I've either not seen in an eternity or else completely forgotten about - this week's Friday Photo falls firmly into the latter category. It's my first full class photo (up to that point we'd only ever been photographed individually) taken in the playground of my Infants School in May 1967, a couple of months before all us kids went our separate ways, scattered around the Junior schools of Waltham Forest. When I look along the faces of those fidgety children today, I find that I can put names to very few of them, in stark contrast to similar class photos I've found that were taken in Junior school over the next couple of years, where I recognise and remember virtually everyone. I suppose it was all a very long time ago. Anyway, enough of my waffle - would anyone like to hazard a guess as to which of the assembled seven-year-olds above is a young yours truly? I've shared quite a few old snaps over the years, so it shouldn't prove too difficult.

Just over a week ago, our mutual friend John Medd put a shout out for good examples of non-Beach Boys Beach Boys songs. Here's one by The Super Stocks from 1964. To be up front and honest, The Super Stocks were led by writer/producer Gary Usher who actually worked with Brian Wilson & co on a number of occasions back in the day, but that doesn't detract from the fun fun fun of 'School is a Drag'. Incidentally, Usher hedged his bets on this subject by issuing a different version of the same song, also in 1964, under the guise of The Wheel Men entitled 'School is a Gas'.

The Super Stocks - School is a Drag

Monday 6 June 2022

Monday Long Song

My Instagram feed tells me that a few lucky souls around the world have already received the new Kungens Män LP, 'Kungens Ljud & Bild' (translates as The King's Sound & Vision). Here in the UK however, we're looking at the middle of June before the postman potentially comes-a-knocking with our copies. Fortunately for me (unfortunately for my bank account) the individual members of Kungens Män seem unable to sit still for very long, so almost inevitably there's a cracking recent release from one of their many other musical projects to enjoy while I wait.

Half of Kungens Män constitutes three quarters of Svenska Psykvänner (Swedish Psych Friends), whose debut album 'The Hägersten Sessions' was issued in the Summer of 2019. Their second release, 'Böjda Toner' (Curved Tones), arrived exactly a month ago. Highlights include the 11 minute opening salvo of bubbling motorik that is 'Ur Led' and 'Rökkpgausen', 16 minutes of  prime psychedelic dub, Svenska Psykvänner's tribute to the late great Lee 'Scratch' Perry.

Svenska Psykvänner - Rökkpgausen

Wednesday 1 June 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #6 - Roman Evening

I'm pretty sure that it was Mrs S who introduced me to the music of Roman Evening fairly early on in our relationship, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that I'd been left custody of their 'Tiny Ladies' CD after she departed. The 2003 album is a soundtrack to the novel of the same name, written by band leader Adam Klein. There's a distinctly melancholic feel running through it, grist to my mill, as illustrated by the Lennonesque 'Casework'. 

Roman Evening - Casework

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